Disaster Research Hurricane Harvey offered an unprecedented opportunity to conduct research at the local level on the impacts of the first major hurricane to strike the Coastal Bend in forty-seven years. In a partnership between Arizona State University and the Council, a Council employee who was also a graduate student at ASU completed the “Managing Expectations for Short-Term and Intermediate Recovery Following Major Disasters” applied research project. This project was limited specifically to the expectations of the identified stakeholders during the first nine months of what is being typified as the period of short-term and intermediate recovery from a major disaster.
It was hypothesized that survivors of a major disaster would have a high, and likely unrealistic expectation associated with the provision of short-term and intermediate recovery assistance. To ensure a successful recovery, it is critical that expectations are managed at all levels through ongoing education and outreach specific to each stakeholder group before and after the disaster. Specific areas of focus were examined to determine what factors may influence the expectations of survivors that included: previous disaster experience by elected and appointed officials and others with public safety responsibility, and that of the general population; the effect of county of residency on expectations; the effect of length of time that a survivor is displaced from their primary place of residence on their expectations; how levels of satisfaction associated with insurance coverage would effect expectations; and the level of awareness that members of the various stakeholder groups had in regards to the available assistance programs. A combination of the review of existing research discussed within the reports literature review section, analysis of survey results and one-on-one interviews were synthesized into this report, and provided research conclusions as to the extent of the misalignment of expectations among stakeholder groups, recommendations, and areas for potential future research to more effectively manage expectations in a major disaster scenario. The full report was made avaialble to all jurisdictions within the eleven county region.
The findings have been presented at three emergency management conferences in 2019, to include the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) conference in San Antonio; the Emergency Managers Association of Texas (EMAT) conference in San Marcos; and the Coastal Bend Hurricane Conference in Robstown. Additionally, the study is now undergoing the rigorous peer-review process prior to being published in the Journal of Emergency Management.
Coastal Bend Hurricane Exercise 2019 Now in its thirteenth year, the annual Hurricane Conference serves as the premiere hurricane training event in the Coastal Bend. The Council’s staff is highly committed to this event, and begin planning months in advance, working through the myriad of issues associated with delivering a quality experience to attendees; to include budgets, solicitation of possible sponsors and speakers/presenters, venue, event schedule, marketing, and the actual management of the two-day event. This high value/low cost conference is made possible through the strong partnerships fostered by the Council with regional emergency management practitioners, public safety professionals, and other critical stakeholders. The conference was attended by over 900 participants and included over 70 breakout sessions and a Table Top Exercise (TTX) with about
250 participants representing over 50 federal, state and local agencies and entities. In many cases for small jurisdictions, this is the only formal training that many participants receive throughout the year, and as such is a critical component of readiness throughout the region.